Better for Jesus to Go Away?
Imagine having Jesus—Almighty God, the Author of Life in human form—as your physical friend. Every day, you follow Him in the streets. You listen to Him proclaim the kingdom of God, you watch in awe as He heals the sick, and you look in astonishment as demons are cast out by His authority. His teachings are sometimes confusing, so He takes time to explain them personally to you when you don't get it. You eat three meals a day with Him, laugh with Him, cry with Him. You get to see His face.
Sometimes it seems like being physically with Jesus would make our faith come easier, but...
Jesus said that it was better for us for Him to go away, so that we would receive the Holy Spirit.
But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you (John 16:7).
Often, I hear Christians refer to the Holy Spirit as an "it." This kind of verbal mistake reveals something extremely telling about how many of us view the Holy Spirit—an impersonal force, not a dynamic Person.
Just what do we know about the Holy Spirit, this mysterious third person of the Trinity? And what does He have to do with our everyday lives that makes His presence "advantageous" for us more than the physical presence of Jesus?
Here's what the Bible tells us about the Holy Spirit:
- He is our Counselor (or Helper) forever (John 14:16–17, 26).
- He lives with us and in us, the Spirit of truth (John 14:16–17).
- He shows Jesus to us (John 15:26).
- He transforms us into Jesus' image (2 Cor. 3:18).
- He fills us with rivers of living water (John 7:37–39).
- He knows all things (1 Cor. 2:10–11).
- He is grieved by sin (Eph. 4:30).
- He prays for us perfectly even when we don't know what to say, according to God's will (Rom. 8:26–27).
- He makes decisions (1 Cor. 12:7–11).
- He produces holiness in us (Gal. 5:16–25).
- He gives us supernatural gifts (Rom. 12:4–8; 1 Cor. 12).
God is every bit as alive and active in the world today as He was in the book of Acts, when He first sent the Holy Spirit. He gives us guidance and encouragement and power through the Holy Spirit. He answers prayer with miracles. Hearing stories about what He is doing fills me with awe—and leaves me eager to understand God's heart and personality in a deeper way through the Word of God!
How have you seen the "advantage" of having the Holy Spirit in our lives? Let's pray to be filled even more with the Spirit with Paul: "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" (Rom. 15:13, emphasis added).
- Have you seen Him answer a specific prayer in a way that made you worship?
- Have you been comforted by His presence?
- Has He showed you something amazing in His Word that gave you strength and joy when you needed it?
- Has He given you power to overcome a sin in your life?
- Have you seen His Spirit at work in someone you know?
- How have you been encouraged by the spiritual gifts of other Christians?
Jesus spoke the truth in John 16:7: We have been given the Helper forever, God Himself within us.